Zinke slams reporting on his scandals

Zinke slams reporting on his scandals
© Greg Nash

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal investigation Acting Interior chief moves to protect access to public lands MORE took to a conservative talk show to slam reporting on his ethics scandals as “B.S.”

Speaking Friday on “Montana Talks,” Zinke took particular issue with Politico’s recent report that he is looking for jobs outside of the Trump administration. But he used that story to criticize mainstream media writ large for its reporting on allegations of coziness with officials in industries he regulates, among other issues.

“They're very angry, and truth doesn’t matter to these people anymore,” Zinke said of mainstream journalists, saying that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE “nearly [got] assaulted” by CNN’s Jim Acosta.

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“You know what, I do my job, I disregard the B.S.,” Zinke said of the Politico story in a fiery interview in which he repeatedly blamed the left and liberals in the media for his scandals.

“You know, it comes from the same liberal reporters that have lost their ability to tell the truth,” he continued. “Here’s one for you: I think I’m going to probably be the commander of Space Command,” he joked.

He ruled out running for governor of Montana in 2020, saying that despite reporting that he is on his way out of the Trump administration, “I’m going to continue doing this job and doing good things.”

Zinke went on to say that some media organizations “have nothing better to do, the entire organizations are about attacking Zinke … so what happens is, they invent a story, they try to sell it, and it goes all the way up to the Washington Post, the New York Times, there’s truth to it. It’s just a series of allegations.”

The Interior secretary said his department has achieved numerous accomplishments. He took credit on behalf of Interior for the United States becoming the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer and pointed to milestones like Interior law enforcement officers apprehending migrants at the southern border and opening more wildlife refuges to hunting and fishing.

“This is what the liberals don’t want to hear,” he said.

Earlier Friday, Trump said he is not planning to fire Zinke. But he said again that he would review the allegations against the former Montana congressman.

The Department of Justice is investigating whether Zinke broke the law when a nonprofit he used to lead negotiated a land deal with a developer backed in part by David Lesar, the chairman of oilfield services company Halliburton Co.

Zinke is also facing investigations from Interior’s Office of the Inspector General and elsewhere over an American Indian casino he didn’t approve, whether he tried to help a Utah lawmaker in redrawing a national monument and other ethics allegations.